More bad news for Juan Agudelo after the US International was passed on by Wolverhampton Wanderers after training for a two week period with the Championship side.
The principle reason for Wolves’ decision to avoid signing Agudelo to a contract, a lack of match fitness. The lack of fitness was due to a groin injury but also his nomadic last year where he hasn’t been able to play in enough matches.
“We felt that match fitness was the key for Juan,” Wolves manager Kenny Jackett told reporters. “To get him up to Championship standard he would need to play games and it is hard to go from nothing straight into the Championship. That can be tough, and while the odd player does it most people don’t – you need a run of games and need to build up.”
The Championship is known for its grueling physicality a standard that many professionals believe exceeds that of the Premier League, where sharper skills decrease the need for such excessive fitness.
Agudelo’s pursuit of European football saw him leave the New England Revolution for Stoke City last winter. But at Stoke he was denied a UK work permit and was promptly loaned out to Dutch side FC Utrecht where he scored three goals in 14 appearances. Attempting to return to Stoke this summer, however, his second work permit was denied and the club cut him loose. As a result, the last match he played was on May 3rd, leaving him bereft of the proper fitness to compete at the Championship level.
“It was nothing to do with his ability levels just that he hasn’t played,” Jackett continued. “Drawing some likenesses we also have some players out on loan playing regularly who could come back in a good rhythm and with match fitness under their belts.”
One hopes Agudelo’s story will resonate with Jurgen Klinsmann. The US Men’s National Team head coach has been outspoken over his desire for Americans to go abroad in search of the highest level of play. But at what cost? Agudelo did just that and is now paying a huge price for his decision. With the options in Europe dwindling and the MLS season ending it could be months before Agudelo returns to top-level action.
Not a great situation for a 21-year-old player who has been in and out of the National Team since the age of 17. Perhaps it’s time Jurgen make a few phone-calls on Agudelo’s behalf.